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Distillery (flour based) mash as hog/chicken/other animal feed?

 
Posts: 12
Location: Southeast Michigan Zone 6a
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Hi All

I got my hands on about 60 gallons worth of spent brewers grain in late October from our nearest microbrewery. Pigs and chickens loved it, they got good portions of the fresh stuff on a daily basis while it was still fresh. We took a good portion of it and made haylage/silage from it by layering it in large garbage bags (the extra thick kind that contractors use) with chopped hay. We used a shop vac to suck the air out of the bag, tied it up, and let it sit for a couple of weeks before feeding, and the pigs LOVED it.

Our little local brewery has more farmers interested than it can really support so we've expanded our search for spent grain to other breweries in the area. (Hooray for living in Michigan!) One is a distillery, and they are happy to send stuff our way. However, apparently they use flour as a base for their mash rather than crushed grain like in beer. They also mentioned that the copper content can be a problem for some animals. Does anyone have experience using such a mash as a feed? I imagine a flour-water slurry would be way more difficult to handle as a feed, but I don't want to turn it down without doing my due diligence.

Thanks for your thoughts!
 
pollinator
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The mash itself shouldn't pose a problem.  I would do a little research about the copper thing though.  That, I have no idea about.
 
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I'm wondering where the copper comes from, that will tell you how concerned to be about the copper content, if it comes from the still, then it will be far less than your animals should be able to tolerate. If this is the single source then just don't feed it to them day after day after day, once a week would be better.
 
Kim Williams-Guillen
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I'm not sure -- I'm thinking that the only way to figure out will be to go on a distillery tour (they just started offering them) and then sampling the resulting product, ha ha. Anything for my animals, right? :P
 
master pollinator
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I like the idea of making a layered silage with it, and I really appreciate your methods.

Spent grain from breweries or distilleries is usually just that, as in largely just fill. Those that have used it with animals might have different opinions, and I would love to be wrong about that in some measure. I think that brewing and distilling are integral tools of permaculture even as fermenting and canning.

But in the making of silage, you're essentially getting it and the chopped hay to ferment, right? The spent grain should still act as a suitable prebiotic, as in bacteria food, and so both its nutritional value and that of the hay is enhanced, much in the same way that some people like to feed their animals fermented feed.

I would like to point out that if you are feeding chickens, either meal worms or black soldier fly larvae, or probably even pet-store variety feed crickets, for that matter, could convert your mash into insect proteins that your chooks would just hoover up. You would need to ascertain what of the available choices the chickens in question could eat, and if there's something that's better than candy to them, you'd probably want that. But I think that would count as "hog/chicken/other."

-CK

 
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This copper topic is really interesting. It turns out that the allowed amount of copper in pigfeed (that is used as only feed) was drastically lowered here in germany, not because it harms the animals, but because ist builds up in the soil. The alowed amount now seems to be 170 mg/kg for piglets and 25 mg/kg for adult pigs. Piglets are allowed more, because it is beneficial for their development. If you mix with enough other feed to stay below these amounts, you should be safe.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The way a distillery or brewer uses grains:  Grind the grains, cook the grains to gelatinize the starches, add more water and heat. Pour off the Wort (the liquid is strained from the grains), discard the grains. This is where the yeast is pitched (added to the wort not the grain).
In a distillery there are two methods of mashing, the usual method for "legal" distilling is to make a Wort as above. The other is to mash on the grain, in this method your yeast pitch goes right into the fermenter once the grain has been cooked and the starches gelatinized, Then you add your malt and stir that in, the malt is where the amalaise enzyme (converts startches to sugars) comes from, once the yeast has done its job of eating the sugars and producing alcohol, your mash is ready for the still you strain or filter the liquid from the left over grain into the still for the run. The grain will contain around 1% alcohol that they were unable to remove from the mash.
 
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